Male Bonding is a noise rock band based in London with members John Arthur Webb, Robin Silas Christian, and Kevin Hendrick.
How long have you lived in London and what brought you there? John: I’ve lived here for 17 years now. I came here to study. It was the golden ticket needed to escape the small town I grew up in. Kev was born on the outskirts of London, underneath the moody shadow of Heathrow airports flight path. Robin moved for the same reason as me. This was before you had to pay to go to University, otherwise I’m not sure I would have been able to move. I would probably still in my home town, working at the chicken slaughterhouse, smoking 40 B&H gold a day and have 17 kids.
How has living in London affected your music? I’m not sure if it’s ever be anything location specific. Having said that we did write some songs around the time London hosted the Olympics that haven’t been released. We recorded five songs that were all written about London. For some reason I fell back in love with London that summer. My relationship with London is love/hate. The older I get the more I imagine moving away. The quality of live isn’t great unless you have money, which none of us do. All three of us seem to spend a lot of weekends out of town and on the coast.
What kinds of things are influencing your music right now? Personal things. Whenever I write it’s always about personal experiences. We’re about 80% into finishing our new album. The new material is lyrically gloomy and pretty heavy — it sounds annoyed. That’s a direct reaction to a difficult year. There’s a lot out there to be pissed off about.
What was your first paying job? I was a cleaner (janitor) at a private school when I was 16. I would go to classes, then when school finished go and mop and polish the floors at this private school down the road. The kids were horrible shits. I would mop a corridor in this massive Victorian building and they would run down it, scuffing their shoes deliberately on the clean floor, so I would have to mop it again. I got paid £10 a week for the humiliation. I used to sit in the broom cupboard for an hour of my shift listening to my walkman. One of the girls that worked in the kitchen left a note in my coat pocket once asking me out on a date. I remember putting my coat on and walking home after my shift. It was winter so I put my hands in my pockets and found this note. That was cool. We went out for a bit. The janitor and the pot scrubber. Really romantic stuff…
Can you share one of the best or worst reactions you have gotten as a result of your music? We did a long tour with Crystal Castles throughout Europe about four winters ago. Some of their fans are pretty committed and at a few shows we had pint glasses thrown at us and verbal abuse from the front couple of roles. I don’t mind that so much though. Kinda makes you play better. We always gave as good as we get. It’s easy to be brave when you’ve got a lump of wood in your hand.
Top 3 favorite or most visited websites and why? I try and stay away from the internet as much as possible. I spent about two hours trying to find something to watch on Netflix last night. That was painful… I usually visit documentary websites and watch surf videos on YouTube. God only knows what Kevin and Robin use the internet for. I’m sure it’s unsavoury at best…
What’s your absolute favorite place in the city/the world to be? Mexico is my favourite place in the world. I really like the city Mérida — it’s the capital and largest city of the Mexican state of Yucatán. I would love to build a recording studio there and witter the days away recording Mexican punk bands….
What other musicians are you interested in right now? I’m kinda obsessed with Steve Gunn at the moment. I saw him play a show in London last winter at this old dentist surgery on the Chatworth Rd to maybe twenty people. I went on my own and felt like I had witnessed something really magical. I was glad I didn’t have to share that experience with anyone else. It was the best gig I’ve seen in years.